.UNKNOWN File Recovery

Have files been deleted due to a user’s error or software error? Have you formatted a disk by accident and need to know how to recover the files? Read our .UNKNOWN file recovery guide for Windows, MacOS, Android and IOS in 2023.

UNKNOWN File Recovery

What is a .UNKNOWN file?

Unknown Windows file that does not have a file association; may have an ".unknown" extension to serve as a placeholder for the file's correct extension.

What Are Common Causes of ".UNKNOWN" Files Lost or Failure?

There are several common causes for ".UNKNOWN" files to be lost or fail:

  1. File corruption: Sometimes, the ".UNKNOWN" file itself may become corrupted due to various reasons such as hardware issues, software bugs, or improper file handling.
  2. Incompatible software: If you try to open a ".UNKNOWN" file with an incompatible software program, it may fail to recognize or properly interpret the file, resulting in loss or failure.
  3. File format issues: The ".UNKNOWN" file may have an unknown or unsupported file format, making it difficult for any software program to open or read it correctly.
  4. File deletion or accidental loss: Human error, accidental deletion, or unintentional formatting of the device or storage medium where the ".UNKNOWN" file is stored can lead to its loss or failure.
  5. Virus or malware infection: If the device or storage medium containing the ".UNKNOWN" file gets infected with a virus or malware, it can corrupt or delete the file, making it inaccessible.
  6. File system errors: Issues with the file system, such as disk errors, bad sectors, or file system corruption, can cause ".UNKNOWN" files to become lost or fail.
  7. Hardware failure: If the device or storage medium where the ".UNKNOWN" file is stored experiences hardware failure, such as a malfunctioning hard drive or memory card, it can result in the loss or failure of the file.
  8. Interruptions during file transfer: If there are interruptions, disruptions, or errors during the process of transferring the ".UNKNOWN" file from one device or storage medium to another, it can lead to its loss or failure.
  9. Unsupported or outdated software: Using outdated or unsupported software to open or handle ".UNKNOWN" files can cause compatibility issues, leading to loss or failure.
  10. File system permissions: If the user does not have the necessary permissions to access or modify the ".UNKNOWN" file, it may result in its loss or failure.

How to recover lost ".UNKNOWN" files?

Sometimes while working with a computer, laptop or other stationary or mobile devices, you may encounter various bugs, freezes, hardware or software failures, even in spite of regular updates and junk cleaning. As a result, an important ".UNKNOWN" file may be deleted.

Go to view
🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

🧺 How to Recover Files and Folders After Sending Them to the Recycle Bin and Deleting? (Windows 11)

By no means should you think that the only way to recover a ".UNKNOWN" file is always to create it once more.

Use programs for recovering ".UNKNOWN" files if a file was lost after accidental or deliberate deleting, formatting the memory card or the internal storage, cleaning the storage device, after a virus attack or a system failure.

Programs to recover ".UNKNOWN" files

Looking for a way to get files back? In cases when files were deleted and they cannot be restored by using standard operating system tools, use Hetman Partition Recovery.

The tool recovers data from any devices, regardless of the cause of data loss.

Follow the directions below:

  1. Download Hetman Partition Recovery, install and start the program.

  2. The program will automatically scan the computer and display all hard disks and removable drives connected to it, as well as physical and local disks.

    File Recovery Software
  3. Double-click on the disk from which you need to recover ".UNKNOWN" files, and select analysis type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Analysis Type
  4. When the scanning is over, you will be shown the files for recovery.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Files that Can be Restored
  5. To find a file you need, use the program’s interface to open the folder it was deleted from, or go to the folder "Content-Aware Analysis" and select the required file type.

    Hetman Partition Recovery - Deep Scan
  6. Select the files you have been looking for and click "Recovery".

    File Recovery Software - Files List for Recovery
  7. Choose one of the methods for saving the files and recover them.

    Saving recovered files in Hetman Partition Recovery

How to open file with ".UNKNOWN" extension?

Looking for how to open a stereo unknown File Type image file file?

Programs that open ".UNKNOWN" files

HEX Editor HEX Editor

Additional Information

  • File type: Unknown File Type

  • File extension: .UNKNOWN

  • Developer: N/A

  • Category: Misc Files

  • Format: N/A


We will be happy to answer your questions!

Comments (1)

  • Hetman Software: Data Recovery
    Hetman Software: Data Recovery 18.12.2019 12:50 #
    Leave a comment if you have any questions about Recovering lost .UNKNOWN files after deleting, cleaning or formatting!
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Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: Oleg Afonin, Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.


Questions and answers

  • What are some common reasons for encountering problems when trying to open a file with the .UNKNOWN extension?

    There are several common reasons for encountering problems when trying to open a file with the .UNKNOWN extension:

    1. File corruption: The file may have been corrupted during download, transfer, or storage, leading to issues when trying to open it.
    2. Incorrect file extension: The file might have been saved with an incorrect or missing file extension. In such cases, the .UNKNOWN extension is added automatically by the operating system when it fails to recognize the file type.
    3. Incompatible software: The file may be associated with a specific software program that is not installed on the system. Without the required software, the file cannot be opened.
    4. Outdated software: The software needed to open the file may be outdated or not compatible with the file format. In such cases, updating the software or finding an alternative program that supports the file type might be necessary.
    5. Unknown file format: The file might be in an uncommon or proprietary file format that is not widely supported. In such cases, finding a specialized software or converter that can handle the file format becomes necessary.
    6. File type mismatch: The file extension may not accurately represent the file type. It could be a result of a typo or an incorrect association made by the operating system.
    7. File encryption or password protection: The file may be encrypted or password-protected, requiring the correct password or decryption method to access its contents.
    8. File system error: The file system itself may have errors or inconsistencies that prevent the file from being opened. Running a disk check or repairing the file system might be necessary.
    9. Malware or virus infection: If the file is infected with malware or a virus, it may cause issues when trying to open it. Antivirus software should be used to scan and remove any potential threats.
    10. File is incomplete or missing components: Some files require multiple components or dependencies to be present in order to open correctly. If any of these components are missing or incomplete, it can result in problems when opening the file.
  • Are there any specific troubleshooting steps or software solutions available to fix issues with opening .UNKNOWN files?

    There are several troubleshooting steps and software solutions you can try to fix issues with opening .UNKNOWN files:

    1. Change the file extension: If the file extension is .UNKNOWN, it means that the file type is not recognized by your operating system. Try changing the file extension to a known file type that you think the file might be. For example, if the file contains an image, you can try changing the extension to .jpg or .png.
    2. Identify the file type: Use a file identification tool or online service to determine the file type. There are various websites and software available that can analyze the file and provide information about its format. Once you know the file type, you can search for software that can open that specific file.
    3. Use a universal file viewer: Universal file viewers like File Viewer Plus or Free File Viewer can open a wide range of file types, including unknown ones. These programs have built-in support for many file formats and can often open files that other applications cannot.
    4. Install the necessary software: If the file is associated with a specific program, make sure that program is installed on your computer. For example, if the file is a .docx file, you need Microsoft Word or a compatible word processing program to open it.
    5. Update or reinstall relevant software: If you already have the necessary software installed but still can't open the file, try updating it to the latest version. If that doesn't work, consider reinstalling the software to ensure all components are properly installed.
    6. Use a file conversion tool: If you know the file type but don't have the appropriate software to open it, you can try converting the file to a more common format using a file conversion tool. This will allow you to open the file with a program you already have.
    7. Consult online forums or communities: If none of the above solutions work, you can search online forums or communities dedicated to file formats and troubleshooting. There might be experts or users who have encountered similar issues and can provide guidance or specific solutions.

    Remember to exercise caution when opening files from unknown sources, as they may contain malware or be potentially harmful. Always use antivirus software and ensure your system is up to date.

  • How can one identify the correct file type and extension for a file that is currently showing as .UNKNOWN, and subsequently open it without any problems?

    To identify the correct file type and extension for a file that is currently showing as .UNKNOWN, you can follow these steps:

    1. Check the file properties: Right-click on the file and select "Properties" (on Windows) or press "Command + I" (on Mac). Look for any information about the file type or extension in the properties window.
    2. Examine the file name: Sometimes the file name itself can provide clues about the file type. For example, if the file contains the word "document" or "image" in the name, it might give you an idea about the file type.
    3. Use a file identifier tool: There are online tools and software available that can help identify the file type based on its content. These tools analyze the file's binary data and provide information about the file format. You can search for "file identifier" or "file type identifier" on your preferred search engine to find suitable tools.
    4. Consult the source: If you received the file from someone else or downloaded it from a website, try to find any accompanying information or documentation that might indicate the file type.

    Once you have identified the correct file type and extension, you can open it without any problems by using an appropriate software application associated with that file type. For example, if the file is a .docx document, you can open it with Microsoft Word or other compatible word processing software.

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